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Racism is everyone’s problem

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Since the dawn of our democracy, many articles are written and press statements issued condemning acts of racism. Countless media conferences, workshops, seminars and training events are persisted the problems of racism, race and race relationships in SA. the most aim of those efforts is to create a rainbow nation that’s nonracial and non-sexist — where all South Africans can sleep in harmony and peace, where everybody has equal opportunities and shares the wealth of our land while redressing the injustices of the past.

Our past is one during which black people weren’t treated with the dignity that becomes citizenry , and were marginalised and robbed of the chance to participate within the activities of the economy and share within the wealth of the land. These injustices had profound and very negative consequences for black South Africans, and therefore the majority are still living in these conditions as we speak.

When we mention poverty we’d say that poverty features a face, which face is black. Likewise, once we mention inequality it’s a face, which face is black, too. once we mention the high rate of unemployment it’s a face, which face is black, and once we mention gender-based violence it’s a face, and most frequently that face is that of a Black woman .

The root explanation for these challenges we face and are handling is within the dehumanising effects of apartheid and therefore the racist policies that decimated our social fabric. Any reminder of those racist policies and attitudes by anyone are going to be met — and will be met — with strong resistance, outrage, condemnation and anger by all South Africans.

We must close the space for racism and racist attitudes in our society and make sure that those that display them are nevermore comfortable in our society.

It is during this context that we’ve been confronted by a billboard — commissioned by the TRESemmé hair-care company and carried on the Clicks Pharmacies’ website — comparing two photos of black women’s hair with two photos of white women’s hair, labelling the black women’s hair “dry and damaged” and “frizzy and dull”, and therefore the white women’s “fine and flat” and “normal”.

This unfortunate portrayal brought back horrifying memories for several , opening up old wounds of pain and suffering caused by the systemic racism experienced by black people.

Most black people still suffer under this ugly systemic racism and South Africans and other people round the world are uninterested and have come to some extent of intolerance — rightfully so.

We cannot afford to show a blind eye to the present evil among us. we’ve a responsibility to confront and defeat racism whenever it raises its ugly head in our society and our communities, including in our boardrooms and commercial spaces.

In this day and age, one would have thought that when it involves racism, only a few people would dispute what’s right and wrong. apart from extremists, no-one would endorse racism. almost all folks know nasty racist behaviour once we see it and that we got to fight against the systemic racism embodied in many of our societal institutions and company spaces. We must still oppose it until we’ve defeated racism altogether its forms.

I’m reminded of our late former president Mandela , who said: “No-one is born hating another person due to the color of his skin … People must learn to hate, and if they will learn to hate, they will be taught to like .”

Racism has brought such a lot human suffering over the years and continues to try to to so. it’s very disappointing and discouraging to ascertain that it persists in our society — particularly within the context of business.

In the wake of the Clicks hair advert debacle, the corporate decided to get rid of all TRESemmé products from its shelves. the corporate also issued an apology to all or any South Africans for the racist advert. It went further, to mention all Clicks employees liable for publishing the advertisement had been suspended, and it accepted the resignation of a senior executive.

All reasonable South Africans should accept this apology from Clicks, but the important question that ought to be asked of Clicks and its executives is, where was the method that was alleged to safeguard against blunders like this that cause such hurt and still divide South Africans?

Clearly, something is missing when a billboard dehumanising black women’s hair is missed by everybody and makes it to a company’s public website. it’s not ok for Clicks just responsible the junior staff within the company. Where were the decision-makers within the process?

I think it’s about time that corporate SA realises what proportion damage blunders like this do to all or any our efforts to create a united and peaceful SA.

The rainbow nation can only be achieved by everyone playing their part in whatever space they occupy.

It would be wrong to color everyone with an equivalent brush when it involves racism. we all know that a lot of companies do an excellent job in promoting transformation and equality and are redressing past injustices. To those companies, we would like to mention , we’d like your voices to be louder in condemning all sorts of racism.

To those companies that also lag behind on the difficulty of transformation, we are saying it’s about time that you simply size up and reflect on your processes, policies, values and culture and what your company stands for when it involves these issues.

If your employees and staff know what your attitudes, culture and values are, they’re going to surely behave consistent with those boundaries.

If a company’s processes, policies, culture and values condemn racism and discrimination, it’ll come naturally to the workers and staff of that company to behave that way.

Blunders like this is able to not have happened because it might have easily been picked up by the system.

If we are getting to defeat racism and discrimination during this country, organisations like Business Unity South Africa and therefore the Black Business Council, also as civil society, religious organisations and churches, among other organisations, must intensify their fight against racism.

We cannot afford to let our guard down until racism has been defeated.

Any reminder of racist policies and attitudes by anyone are going to be met — and will be met — with strong resistance, outrage, condemnation and anger by all South Africans

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